Firefighting is a rewarding career that also happens to be both dangerous and physically demanding. For this reason, firefighters are required to be in excellent physical shape. Their safety, and that of community members, depends on it.
Learn About Firefighting School Requirements
In order to graduate from Texas firefighting school and be considered for a position, candidates are required to pass the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT). Although the exact requirements of this exam vary from department to department, all require examinees to complete physical tasks that resemble actual on-the-job tasks. For example, examinees may be asked to run with heavy equipment or to carry and operate equipment while on ladders.
Improve Your Physical Health
Improving your general health, regardless of requirements can only help. If you aren’t physically active, now is the time. Physical fitness has three main components: endurance, cardio and strength. The CPAT, and firefighting, will test all three.
Running is a great way to work on both endurance and cardio. Experts suggest becoming accustomed to working out in a variety of environments and conditions. Firefighters are forced to work in every kind of weather, while dealing with fire and smoke. Outdoor exercise is a great way to practice this.
You’ll also want to work on total-body strength using machines, bodyweight or free weight exercises.
Prepare for the Candidate Physical Ability Test
To best prepare, you should familiarize yourself with the physical requirements for entrance into firefighting school in your area. Keep in mind that these are the minimum requirements. Being in better shape can only benefit you as a candidate.
Check with your local department to find out if they offer Open Days. These events feature demonstrations of CPAT or candidate entrance exam exercises. In some cases, you can try the exercises out. This is a great opportunity to get a realistic assessment of your physical abilities.
Lastly, with all this working out, don’t neglect your diet and sleep habits. You’ll need to be well-rested and well-fueled to build up the strength you need to get through firefighting school.